February 27, 2006

A different take on quantum cuteness [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at February 27, 2006 3:32 PM

First, a follow-up link to the quantum interrogation post: Sean at Cosmic Variance explains the experiment in layman's terms. I'm guessing he wrote this post immediately after reading Cute Overload.

Anyway, it's now time to review the album I've been playing incessantly the last three weeks. No, not Loveless, the other one.

Belle & Sebastian: The Life Pursuit: I am hardly an unbiased source on this band, so when I say that the album is awesome you will probably not be surprised. At least I can say how it stands in relation to the other B&S records, which is what I spent the first ten or so plays trying to figure out. In general it has a somewhat different sound from their previous work. There's still the sunny mood that ran through most of Dear Catastrophe Waitress (in fact the word "sun" appears in two of the song titles), but without the orchestral feel that characterized the earlier LP's production. From a production perspective, it sounds fairly novel for this band. I'm not sure how I would descibe this new sound, but it's quite appealing and a good match for the themes of the album.

It feels very cohesive compared to Waitress (in which they seemed to be experimenting with various styles on the different tracks)—these songs flow into each other very smoothly, and when "Act of the Apostle II" picks up the theme from its predecessor halfway through, it feels completely natural despite the fact that the first "Act of the Apostle" played ten tracks earlier. This is not to say that there's no variety; "Dress Up In You", which sounds like an old-school B&S song, is sandwiched between "The Blues Are Still Blue" and "Sukie In The Graveyard", both of which are far peppier than is typical for this band.

On just about every Belle & Sebastian CD I've bought, there's been one song that I've fallen in love with and played to excess. Joining "Your Cover's Blown", "If She Wants Me", "String Bean Jean", and "Like Dylan in the Movies" is "The Blues Are Still Blue" from this record. I'm not sure what it is about this particular song (maybe the cowbell) but I can't get enough of it. Other highlights are "Funny Little Frog", "Another Sunny Day", and "Sukie in the Graveyard".

The iTunes version of this album offers two bonus tracks, neither of which is particularly essential. "Meat and Potatoes" sounds as if it was written for the Dr. Demento show, and "I Took A Long Hard Look" is forgettable. (Apparently these are also on the "Funny Little Frog" single.) Anyway, this only applies if you bought the CD but were considering getting the extra tracks; spend your $0.99 on "Your Cover's Blown" (from the Books EP) instead.

Tags: Music, Open Thread, Physics, Quantum Information, Science
Comments

I have several comments:

1. I think I need to learn that trick of rotating salads by 90 degrees to turn them into steaks... (Mmmm... steak.)

2. In one of his papers (a research paper no less), Michael Berry mentioned that it is silly to think of apples and oranges as being in different states of quantum fruitness.

3. AIR refused to publish my paper on Quantum Cuteness on the grounds that it might offend its readers. (I need to update this paper to account for the scientific advancements of the last three years. In particular, the discussion of many-body physics is sorely missing. Say, I wonder what mean-field theory would be in this setting?)

Posted by: Mason | February 27, 2006 4:22 PM

Dude, you submitted an article for publication in AIR? DUDE!

Can I read it?

Posted by: Lemming | February 27, 2006 4:37 PM

I've submitted multiple ones and gotten rejected each time, though that was the first time I wrote one with the intention of specifically submitting it there. AIR and PRL have played similiar roles in my life, although I have something right now I'm trying to revise that has a reasonable shot of ultimately being accepted by PRL. I haven't tried AIR in a while.

Anyway, a selection of my creative writing is here. (My older stuff hasn't been posted, and I really need to copy the stuff from an old computer not in my possession in order to do so. Also, I have produced very few non-blog short pieces since I started working on my book. My creative efforts have gone in those directions in recent years. I have pondered a couple stories at times over the past couple years, but I never actually got around to writing them. I take that back slightly---APS News gave me a free t-shirt for one of my physics haikus that they published.)

Here is the famous (in that it's come up in multiple blog entries, especially recently) unpublished paper on Quantum Cuteness. It needs a section on many-body physics. Maybe I can apply methods from control theory?

Oh yeah, I highly recommend reading the article about the fake Pullitzer Prize I awarded to a colleague of mine on April Fools day last year that amused the Georgia Tech physics faculty without end. (The Prize was referred to briefly in an old version of the website for a workshop in honor of my colleague's 60th birthday.) He is giving the last talk of the workshop and I am giving the penultimate one, so the document will be making a slight encore appearance in my talk... (It will likely get referenced before my talk, so there should be plenty of demand for it too. Actually, several nonlinear science faculty at other universities know about this prank. It was extremely well-received.)

I forgot to mention: When I was reading the link Gazebo provided, the song "Schr\"odinger's Cat" started playing on my iPod.

Posted by: Mason | February 27, 2006 4:57 PM

Book?
What book?
Pray tell us more!

Posted by: JSpur | February 28, 2006 1:40 PM

The book is the Legends of Caltech book on which I've been working for a while. The homepage for the project is here. The text for Legends of Caltech III: Techer in the Dark has been submitted and some of Caltech's PR people are currently looking through it. (The alumni association is publishing.) We (Autumn Looijen '99 and I) started working on it in May 03 and finally submitted the text last October. We will be producing the 4th book in the series as well (maybe subtitled "So Long and Thanks for all the E's" ?) and actually already have a ton of material for it (though we still need to spend a lot of time gathering more), although right now we're taking a break and won't be starting on that in earnest until after book III appears in print. (It's undecided if we'll be the ones doing book V in the series and depends in part on how much material we like that doesn't end up in that book. It also depends on whether we want to devote the time for a third iteration.)

By the way, I thought you already knew about the book.

Posted by: Mason | February 28, 2006 1:53 PM

Actually, now that you mention it, I seem to recollect you talking about it previously. Sorry. Seems that I am becoming a victim of CRS ("can't remember shit") disease.

Posted by: JSpur | February 28, 2006 2:17 PM
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